Perfectionism At Work Makes You Unhappy

There have been times in my work life that I have heard people brag about being perfectionist.  I am always surprised by this because I struggle with perfectionism myself.  While striving to be accurate and “doing it right the first time” are admirable, perfectionists carry it to extremes and never want to let things go. If you want to be happy at work,  avoid perfectionism.  Here are 10 ways perfectionism can hurt you.  See if some of them resonate with you.

  1. You become so overwhelmed with getting something perfect that you put off doing it until you are either too late to do it or you finally do it with the upsetting feeling that it is not completely right.  Procrastinating may in some cases have its origin in perfectionism.  The extra work you do to get something perfect is not meaningful or fulfilling just frustrating and paralyzing.
  2. Getting caught up in the details.  You focus on the minute details that are only significant to you.  You lose site of the big picture, your vision, and you get stuck in the mire of minutia.
  3. You are very guarded with others because you don’t want to be wrong or make a mistake.  You can’t be yourself because others will discover you are not that perfect.
  4. You need the approval of others to feel good about your work.  Even though you are capable of knowing when you have done a good job, you still need approval from others to feel fulfilled.
  5. You feel constant stress because you are always trying to be perfect.  You can never relax because you don’t want to be less than perfect.  (See #10)
  6. You shy away from risks.  Risks mean possible mistakes and errors.  Unless you are forced you don’t want to put yourself in a position to be wrong.
  7. Your business suffers because you fear saying the wrong thing to a client or potential client.  Your speech is measured at best and nonexistent at worst.   Cold calls or even warm ones are really difficult for you.
  8. You don’t delegate easily because you think no one can do it as well as you can. Delegating the proof reading of documents and resumes is imperative.  It is easy to miss a typo or punctuation error when you read the same thing over and over.  Documents and resumes do need to be perfect so you and someone other than you need to check them.
  9. Your boss gets annoyed because you take so long to get things done.  Letting go is hard for you so you check and recheck to make sure everything is perfect.
  10. You may be prone to health issues because of the stress of trying to be perfect and because you don’t let others support you.  Others see you as being totally independent and wanting no one to help you.  You may wonder why you don’t get compliments or offers to help.

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